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India choke in cliffhanger

india Updated: Mar 13, 2011 00:02 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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What started as a great day for India ended in disappointment.

Proceeding to a seemingly impregnable position while batting, India suffered a collapse unseen in recent memory to hand South Africa the lifeline they were desperate for. Something in the range of 350-360 was there for the taking until India lost the last nine wickets for 29 runs.

If Dale Steyn’s devastating spell was one reason for that, the wanton ways of the Indian batsmen was another. They threw bat to ball like there was no tomorrow and more importantly, didn’t learn from the mistake made by those dismissed before them.

The South African chase was slow to begin with but they did the sensible thing by keeping wickets in hand. The asking rate kept mounting and they started accelerating just at the right time, without taking risks.

When the time came to go for shots, they kept finding their men for the moments.

The packed crowd at the VCA Stadium had come prepared for a party and they had plenty to celebrate when Sachin Tendulkar was having a ball, with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. It looked like their day was made before sense made way for suicide and in the end, there was gloom all over.

A win here would have put India through to the quarter-finals but this is no longer certain. A lot now depends on what happens in matches featuring the other teams.